No 1 (89) 2012
January - March

No Cheap Tricks...

Polish collective belief is that the music by "Chopin and Wieniawski is rendered best by Asians". An offer by Chinese origin artists confirmed this conviction with regard to fine arts.

Zofia Małkowicz

B. in 1990. Student at the Poznań Fine Arts Academy Artistic Education Faculty.

Zofia Małkowicz

THE FESTIVAL HAS BEEN ORGANIZED BY THE PERFORMANCE ART FOUNDATION in cooperation with the Art and Contemporary Times Foundations and the Lublin Labyrinth Gallery. Self presentations by individual artists - followed performances and discussions with the participation of the audience - have been held every day. The Festival program has been extended with an educational part, i.e., art criticism workshops run by Magdalena Ujma. Before I describe the Chinese artists, since I am leaving the best for the end, I would like to mentioned some performances that have drawn my attention.

Kateřina Olivová (the Czech Republic) and Luciana D'Anunciacao (Brazil / Canada) have applied their own bodies and movement as main tools to develop self-portraits. Olivová performed naked in disco entourage "letting out" orgasm like aria. Next, she took a place among the audience, looked around boldly inviting a feedback. Luciana Freire D'Anunciacao developed quite a hermetic situation focused on dancing and the dialogue with the projection of her own image. As a rule I am skeptic about projects based solely on the nude; this time, however, I must say that the message delivered by Olivova has appealed to me more intensely. Freire D'Anunciacao has got lost in her ephemeral projection and sublime, nevertheless, conservative movements. In case of a Czech artist, the nakedness has been a confirmation of her authenticity. It has been an argument, not an aim for its own sake.

As far as the mentioned above artists are concerned, I have absolutely no doubts why they have been invited by the Festival organizers. The opposite was true after I saw the performance by Łukasz Trusewicz, a young Poznań artist. Trusewicz has involved viewers into a sequence of events: he showed up on a darkened stage, uttered some quasi incantations "I am appearing" while switching on a green bulb, then he strongly kicked the bulb to switch it off and muttered "I am disappearing". The audience have been left facing fluorescent rain of sparkling lights. All his gestures have been pathetic, leading to just one conclusion that his magic is merely a cheap trick.

The earlier mentioned Chinese artists, who have been a feather in a cap for the festival, have provided a strong contrast to Trusewicz. I think that the performances by He Chengyao, Cui Tao and Chen Jina have been particularly significant. Each of these performances have been connected with meditation and contemplation, while referring to specific circumstances, i.e., the visit in Poland. He Chengyao was walking around the square striking matches one after another. Cui Tao was standing motionless all day in front of the Gallery, a candle in his hands. Chen Jin paid a tribute to the Majdanek concentration camp victims, performing a prayer sequence while the photo of the camp monument was projected. It is deeply moving how their performances entered into a dialogue with the culture of the location they visited.

The "Little Poems" ("Poematki") performance by Zbigniew Warpechowski has been one of the final events during the Festival. Besides expanded symbolism, it contained a number of subliminal, emotional messages that strongly appealed to the Chinese artists. Their faces reflected how deeply they were moved as though what they had seen touched the most delicate tissue of their feelings and the most personal experiences. Let me suggest that Chinese, where an intonation determines meaning, makes it easier to grasp the type of sensitivity that is frequently considered artistic. The understanding "platform" involves ope-ning the communication channels which strike the same inner strings, regardless of national origins. This is exactly what has happened in Lublin.

"Performance Platform Lublin", the Labyrinth Gallery, Lublin, November - December 2011.,